First Choice Energy

Friday, November 8, 2019

Gulfport Energy Looking to Sell Some Utica Assets

From the Times Reporter:
Gulfport Energy is looking to sell some of its interests in the Utica Shale. 
The company announced the plan ahead of its Friday conference call with investors to discuss third-quarter earnings. 
Gulfport said proceeds from its sale of non-operated interests would offset higher-than-anticipated spending this year in the Utica. The company expected to have an agreement on the sale before the end of the year, according to a press release.

Oklahoma City-based Gulfport lost $48.8 million, or 31 cents per diluted share during the quarter. 
The company’s average production was equivalent to 1.5 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day. Utica wells accounted for 80 percent of production.
Click here to continue the article. 

EQT Looking to Sell Off its Ohio Assets

From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
One of Mr. Rice’s signature promises during the proxy battle was to bring EQT’s costs down to $735 per foot. For an average well being drilled next year in southwestern Pennsylvania, at 13,000 feet long, that would translate to $9,555,000. He said EQT will be below that level by the second half of next year in this area. Its West Virginia and Ohio programs have higher cost and shorter laterals. 
But while company leaders told analysts on Thursday that “West Virginia will become a larger part of EQT’s story going forward,” the Ohio assets that Mr. Rice personally negotiated at a critical point in his former firm Rice Energy’s trajectory may be headed for a sale. 
To pay off debt, EQT is also considering selling off holdings in central Pennsylvania and southern West Virginia. 
It is also looking at selling a stake in its mineral interests, as has become more common in the industry with players like Range Resources. A deal on royalty interests could come in “a matter of months,” EQT’s leaders said and might involve a cut of current and/or future production.
Read the whole article by clicking here. 

Murray Energy Corp. Files for Bankruptcy

From the Pittsburgh Business Times:
Murray Energy, the nation’s largest privately owned coal mining company — which owns facilities in West Virginia and Ohio — filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Tuesday. 
Murray Energy, which is based in St. Clairsville, Ohio, reported between $1 billion and $10 billion in estimated liabilities and assets between $1 billion and $10 billion in the filing in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for Southern Ohio. Its top 10 unsecured creditors have $126.9 million in claims, according to the bankruptcy filing. 
Murray Energy founder Robert Murray, one of the strongest voices in the coal industry, will move from CEO to chairman. Robert D. Moore has been named president and CEO of Murray Energy and Murray Energy Corp.
Click here to read more. 

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

GOP Effort to Block Nationwide Fracking Ban Gets Stopped by House Democrats

From the Washington Times:
House Democrats blocked Tuesday consideration of a resolution in support of hydraulic fracturing as Republicans sought to protect the U.S. energy boom from Democratic presidential candidates seeking to ban fracking nationwide 
The resolution, sponsored by Rep. Rob Bishop, Utah Republican, affirmed that states should “maintain primacy for the regulation of hydraulic fracturing for oil and natural gas production on State and private lands,” and that no president should impose a moratorium without congressional approval. 
“In recent weeks, many of the Democratic candidates for president have pledged to ban hydraulic fracturing in the United States, a campaign promise straight out of the keep-it-in-the-ground playbook,” said Rep. Debbie Lesko, Arizona Republican, in a floor speech. 
Sens. Kamala Harris, Bernard Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, all 2020 Democratic presidential hopfeuls, have called for a nationwide ban on fracking, an extraction process used in the vast majority of U.S. natural gas production.
Read the whole article by clicking right here. 

Analysts Try to Quantify Effects of Fracking Ban Promised by Democratic Presidential Candidates

From Forbes:
A number of Democratic candidates have endorsed a fracking ban, recently including Elizabeth Warren, and as Bob McNally said, this would “vaporize the oil and gas boom in the United States.” In this piece, I will try to quantify the impact of a fracking ban on the U.S. natural gas supply, and the concomitant economic effects. 
Of course, there is some skepticism that she would actually do that if elected, and suspicion that the suggestion is nothing more than an attempt to appeal to the more liberal Democratic primary voters. Given that Democrats from Barack Obama to Jerry Brown have not opposed (regulated) fracking, and the pertinent fact that politicians often make promises they don’t intend to keep, (shocking I know), I would lean towards that myself. 
My belief is strengthened by the nature of the arguments in favor of a fracking ban. Yes, it’s done by big oil (I mean BIG OIL), except many of the companies are much smaller. Yes, it’s a novel method, except it’s been done for about a century in various forms. And yes, there is evidence of pollutants like benzene near fracking sites, but mainly because there’s benzene nearly everywhere. One would like to think that the public would recognize that argument resembles fears of radiation from nuclear power plants—which are trivial when compared to natural radiation levels.
Click here to read the rest of the article. 

AEP Sells Thousands of Acres to Ohio, Retains Subsurface Rights

From The Columbus Dispatch:
Thousands of acres of land the state of Ohio has agreed to purchase from American Electric Power for recreation and conservation does not include the subsurface rights. AEP is holding onto those rights for potential future drilling for oil and natural gas. 
The state’s planned $47 million purchase of more than 31,000 acres of land in eastern Ohio for recreation and conservation does not include the subsurface rights, and some of it likely will be the site of fracking activities, The Dispatch has learned. 
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine — flanked by outdoorsmen and members of the General Assembly — announced the land purchase in eastern Ohio from American Electric Power a few weeks ago. The move was applauded by conservationists because the land, formerly used by the utility for strip mining, would be used by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources for recreation and conservation and designated as a state park. 
However, a draft of the purchase agreement obtained by The Dispatch shows AEP will retain the subsurface rights to the land for potential oil and gas drilling. 
The draft states that AEP retains the “right to construct, install, and maintain well site locations, access roads, production equipment, pipeline systems, and utilities and to conduct seismic and geological surveys and the right to drill and extract from new water wells and reasonable use of non-domestic surface water for such purposes.”
You can continue this article by clicking here. 

President Trump Praises Shale Drilling During PA Rally

From Kallanish Energy:
President Trump Wednesday celebrated a love-in in the Appalachian Basin. 
The president delivered a 64-minute salute to shale drilling and the U.S. energy industry at the 9th annual Shale Insight conference in Pittsburgh. Kallanish Energy was in attendance. 
“You are the No. 1 producer of oil and natural gas on the planet Earth, No. 1 by far,” he said. “America is a winner, a winner, a winner, a winner. We’re not being laughed at anymore.” 
Shale drilling has reshaped the American economy and Americans are benefitting from lower heating bills and more jobs, Trump said. 
‘I like energy people’ 
“I like energy people,” he said. He addressed an audience of roughly 5,200 persons at the David Lawrence Convention Center, including nearly 1,480 conference attendees and those involved in staging the conference. 
The conference was staged by the Marcellus Shale Coalition, the Ohio Oil and Gas Association and the West Virginia Oil and Natural Gas Association.
Click here to read the whole article. 

November 2019 Well Activity Maps Posted by ODNR

Rig Count Back to 14 in Utica Shale

WEEK ENDING 10/26/19

New permits issued last week: 8 (Previous week: 10)  -2
Total horizontal permits issued: 3192 (Previous week: 3187 +5
Total horizontal wells drilled: 2714 (Previous week: 2708)  +6
Total horizontal wells producing: 2345 (Previous week: 2340)  +5
Utica rig count: 14 (Previous week: 13)  +1

WEEK ENDING 11/02/19

New permits issued last week: 6 (Previous week: 8)  -2
Total horizontal permits issued: 3198 (Previous week: 3192 +6
Total horizontal wells drilled: 2719 (Previous week: 2714)  +5
Total horizontal wells producing: 2355 (Previous week: 2345)  +10
Utica rig count: 14 (Previous week: 14)  +-0

Monday, November 4, 2019

FirstEnergy Will Try Anything to Avoid Reversal on Nuclear Bailout

A federal judge has rejected a last-ditch plea by opponents of Ohio’s new nuclear bailout law to be granted 38 additional days to collect petition signatures for a referendum overturning it. 
Instead, U.S. District Court Judge Edmund A. Sargus asked the Ohio Supreme Court for its opinion on whether to grant more time, on the grounds that the legal questions involved the Ohio Constitution, not the U.S. Constitution. 
“The court has jurisdiction to decide cases and controversies arising only under federal law,” the judge wrote in an opinion issued Wednesday night. “As the parties agree, this court does not have jurisdiction over any claim that the secretary of state or the Ohio General Assembly has violated the referendum provisions of the Ohio Constitution.” 
Sargus sent four “certified questions” to the state Supreme Court, including whether anti-HB6 activists should be credited with more time to collect signatures. 
Under state law, referendum seekers have 90 days to collect and submit at least 265,774 valid signatures to qualify for the ballot. 
But the group Ohioans Against Corporate Bailouts sought a preliminary injunction for an extra 38 days, because that is how long it took them to get approval from Attorney General Dave Yost and Secretary of State Frank LaRose to start collecting signatures.
Read the whole article by clicking here.

Another article from
Police have charged a now-former worker for the campaign defending Ohio’s House Bill 6, the recently passed nuclear bailout law, as a result of her confrontation in suburban Columbus with a worker for the campaign trying to repeal the law. 
Dublin police said Friday they have charged Stinner Wimberly Shine of Columbus with a misdemeanor count of criminal damaging. She was charged after police say she broke a cell phone belonging to Harold Chung, a Las Vegas man working for the pro-repeal campaign. 
Chung was collecting signatures Tuesday outside a Dublin library when he tried to take a picture of Wimberly Shine, who had been hired by the pro-HB6 campaign to try to disrupt the signature gathering process. 
The charge is a second-degree misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of 90 days in jail and a $750 fine. obtained surveillance footage of the incident from the Columbus Metropolitan Library system via a public records request.
Click here to continue reading and view the video.

And with more details on how dirty the fight over this issue has become, this is from the Dayton Daily News:
Opposing House Bill 6 and favoring a referendum: Ohioans Against Corporate Bailouts, a coalition of business, consumer and environmental groups, opposes the new law and is seeking to put it up for a referendum in November 2020, the same day as the presidential election. 
Favoring House Bill 6 and opposing a referendum: Akron-based FirstEnergy Solutions, Generation Now, Ohioans for Energy Security and owners of the Ohio Valley Electric Corp. plants. 
At stake is more than $1 billion slated to go to FirstEnergy Solutions and OVEC if the new law is preserved. 
An expensive campaign 
Supporters of HB6 have spent $16.56 million so far on advertising to get the bill passed and stop the referendum, according to Medium Buying, a firm that tracks ad buys. 
Opponents of HB6 have spent $4.46 million so far, according to the firm.

Those figures do not include money spent on lobbyists, political strategists or petition circulators. 
Political insiders who run ballot issue campaigns say the spending and the hardball tactics are jaw dropping. 
“Ohio has never ever seen this level of decline-to-sign petition campaign,” said Ian James, who ran the 2015 ballot campaign to legalize marijuana in Ohio. “And I doubt, if the petition falls short on signatures, that Ohioans will ever truly know the level of funding that was spent for and against the petition HB6 effort.”
Read more by clicking here. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Utica Permitting Back on the Rise, Rig Count Holds Steady

WEEK ENDING 10/19/19

New permits issued last week: 10 (Previous week: 0)  +10
Total horizontal permits issued: 3187 (Previous week: 3177 +10
Total horizontal wells drilled: 2708 (Previous week: 2708)  +-0
Total horizontal wells producing: 2340 (Previous week: 2340)  +-0
Utica rig count: 13 (Previous week: 13)  +-0

Encino Energy Faces Lawsuit Over Underpaid Royalties

From The Review:
The lawsuit concerns leases landowners signed with Ohio Buckeye Energy or Chesapeake Energy from 2010 through 2012. Ohio Buckeye Energy later became part of Chesapeake. 
Last October, Encino Acquisition Partners bought Chesapeake’s Utica holdings in Ohio for $2 billion. EAP is a partnership between the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and Encino Energy, a private oil and gas company based in Houston. 
EAP’s purchase included 900,000 acres and approximately 900 wells, with related equipment and property. Encino Energy’s Utica office is in Louisville. 
Royalty dispute
After the purchase, the Encino defendants began to significantly underpay royalties to landowners, according to the lawsuit. 
William G. Williams, an attorney for the landowners, said his clients initially couldn’t wait for Encino to take over because Chesapeake had been making large deductions from their royalties, a practice that is the subject of another lawsuit. 
High expectations changed to despair and disappointment when the landowners got their first Encino royalty checks this summer, Williams said. The payments were anywhere from 50 to 90 percent less than what Chesapeake had been paying.
Click right here to view the rest of the article. 

Report: Ohio Counties Have Received Nearly $142 Million in Real Estate Property Taxes from Utica Shale Production

Eight of Ohio’s top Utica Shale development counties collected more than $141.9 million in real estate property taxes on oil and natural gas production since 2010, according to an updated report by Energy In Depth and the Ohio Oil and Gas Association.
The Utica Shale Local Support Series report entitled, “2019 Update: Ohio’s Oil and Gas Industry Property Tax Payments,” analyzes the economic impacts of oil and natural gas real estate property (or ad valorem) taxes paid in these counties from 2010-2017: BelmontCarrollColumbianaGuernseyHarrisonJeffersonMonroe and Noble.
Data was collected through Freedom of Information Act requests, and builds on EID and OOGA’s previous 2017 reports on real estate property taxes and road use management agreements.
The Utica Shale Local Support Series shows the real dollars being paid to Ohio’s communities. As Harrison Hills Superintendent Dana Snider said:
“Harrison Hills has experienced a great working and supportive relationship with the oil and gas industry. Part of that support comes from the ad valorem tax, which in large part comes to the district. Those dollars have allowed us to reinvest in our students, staff and facilities to provide a state of the art, nurturing and creative learning environment that our community is proud of.”
Here are the key findings of the 2019 updated report:
To read the full report or view county specific information:

Court Ruling Finds That Ohio DMA and MTA Can Coexist Successfully

From Vorys' Energy & Environmental Law Blog:
The Seventh District Court of Appeals reaffirmed that claimants can use both Ohio’s Marketable Title Act (“MTA”) and Dormant Mineral Act (“DMA”) to extinguish and abandon, respectively, mineral interests. In West v. Bode, 2019-Ohio-4092, the appellant-surface owners attempted to extinguish a severed oil and gas royalty interest under the MTA. The holders of the royalty interest argued, in part, that the MTA did not extinguish the royalty interest because, as between the MTA and DMA, the DMA is the more specific statute with regard to terminating mineral interests and the DMA did not abandon the royalty interest. The Court rejected the royalty holders’ argument, as it had done in similar, prior cases. However, in its decision, the Court offered its strongest defense of the MTA to date.
Read the rest of this post by clicking here. 

New Well Spacing Regulations Put in Place in Ohio

From the Oil & Gas Law Report:
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources – Division of Oil & Gas Resources Management (DOGRM) recently revised its rules governing spacing of horizontal oil and gas production wells. The new rules, which became effective on Oct. 10, 2019, will bring Ohio’s horizontal well spacing regulations in line with what accepted science and drilling data indicates is a more efficient and productive spacing for horizontal wells in Ohio. 
Under the prior version of Ohio Administrative Code §1501:9-1-04, which applied to both conventional and horizontal wells, any oil and gas production well drilled into a pool located at least 4,000 feet in depth must be set back at least 500 feet from the boundary of the leased tract or drilling unit. That prior version of the rule also required a spacing of at least 1,000 feet between wells producing from the same pool. 
Effective Oct. 10, 2019, Ohio Administrative Code §1501:9-1-04 was revised to require only a 150 foot (+/- 10 percent) setback from the first and last “take points” of a horizontal well and the boundary of the drilling unit or subject tract. This change is consistent with industry practice of seeking a setback variance at the heel and toe of horizontal wells in order to more fully develop a drilling unit. Drilling data shows that well stimulation operations do not typically produce fractures that propagate more than 150 feet beyond the heel and toe of a typical Ohio shale well. Thus, the prior 500 foot setback requirement was excessive and left unproduced resources at the heel and toe of a well.
Click here to view the whole article. 

Friday, October 18, 2019

Encino Energy Donates $35,000 Toward Environment, Health and Safety Projects

An Encino Energy press release:
Encino Energy made major donations from the Encino Energy Community Partnership Program earlier today supporting environment, health and safety projects in Carroll and Jefferson counties. 
In Jefferson County, Encino was asked to provide funding for the Wintersville Fire and Rescue to purchase eight Conex shipping containers. These containers will be used to build a training facility for the Wintersville Fire and Rescue, which will be located adjacent to the burn building and to support hose line operations, search and rescue, roof operations, ladder operations, confined space rescue, rope rescue, sprinkler systems, and foam operations. The training center will be available for use by fire departments from Jefferson, Belmont, and Harrison counties. Encino invested $20,000 from its Community Partnership Program toward this effort. 
“These new containers are incredibly important—and Encino Energy was the first to answer our call for action to help make this happen. More important than the check, has been the partnership and collaboration we’ve had with Encino throughout this entire project, “said Rob Harrington, Fire Chief, Wintersville Volunteer Fire Department. “We look forward to continuing to work on ways we can partner together.” 
The second major investment made from the Encino Community Partnership Program supports the Carroll County Sheriff’s Department with a $15,000 investment toward a new state-of-the-art unmanned aerial system (UAS). Carroll County Sheriff Dale Williams originally made Encino aware of this need shortly after the county had experienced a series of critical events, where an unmanned aerial system could have significantly aided local first responders’ efforts. Encino was particularly interested in this callto-action after learning that one of the company’s employees was directly impacted by a recent highprofile missing persons fatality. The project was also appealing because the funding was a collaborative effort between the Carroll County Commissioners, the Carroll County Foundation, and several other local entities who also participated in the funding of the project. 
“As I said in my letter to Encino Energy, serving for years as your Sheriff, I felt that this state-of-the-art tool is vital for Carroll County,“ said Sheriff Dale Williams. “This drone will provide much-needed assistance to go where our police officers can’t go and most importantly improve the health and safety of the people we serve. Our community really came together to support this special operation and Encino’s support was a key driver to our fundraising efforts.” 
Encino’s Director of Environment, Health and Safety, Dave Edwards, advised that its newly formed Community Partnership Program is designed to provide investment in long-term, sustainable projects in the areas in which the company has drilling and production operations with an emphasis on environment, health and safety. Carroll and Jefferson Counties are among Encino’s “core assets” where it is actively drilling, completing and producing wells. 
“The protection of our environment, health and safety of the communities in which we live, and work is paramount to Encino’s core values and really is the heart of our Community Partnership Program, “said Dave Edwards. “These two projects are personal to us because we work with first responders on a dayto-day basis and rely on them to support our operations in time of need. The UAS project, of course, really hit home because we saw the value with our own employees living right here in Carroll County. The investments we are making through this program captures the spirit of company’s long-term vision, and we want to do our part to be a good neighbor.”
These investments follow the $25,000 Encino donated in July to assist in the completion of a new playground at Sally Buffalo Park in Cadiz.  It's nice to see the company that took over Chesapeake Energy's Utica acreage reaching out to have a positive impact on local communities.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Rig Count Back on the Rise in Latest Utica Permitting Update

WEEK ENDING 10/12/19

New permits issued last week: 0 (Previous week: 19)  -10
Total horizontal permits issued: 3177 (Previous week: 3177 +-0
Total horizontal wells drilled: 2708 (Previous week: 2707)  +1
Total horizontal wells producing: 2340 (Previous week: 2339)  +1
Utica rig count: 13 (Previous week: 11)  +2

Thursday, October 10, 2019

ODNR Releases Latest Utica and Marcellus Shale Activity Maps

After 2 Dead Weeks, Permitting Picks Back Up in Utica Shale as Rig Count Drops

WEEK ENDING 10/05/19

New permits issued last week: 10 (Previous week: 0)  +10
Total horizontal permits issued: 3177 (Previous week: 3162 +15
Total horizontal wells drilled: 2707 (Previous week: 2699)  +8
Total horizontal wells producing: 2339 (Previous week: 2320)  +19
Utica rig count: 11 (Previous week: 14)  -3

Saturday, October 5, 2019

USGS Increases Appalachian Basin Natural Gas Estimates, Moves Utica Ahead of Marcellus

From the USGS:
The Marcellus Shale and Point Pleasant-Utica Shale formations of the Appalachian Basin contain an estimated mean of 214 trillion cubic feet of undiscovered, technically recoverable continuous resources of natural gas, according to new USGS assessments.

“Watching our estimates for the Marcellus rise from 2 trillion to 84 trillion to 97 trillion in under 20 years demonstrates the effects American ingenuity and new technology can have,” said USGS Director Jim Reilly. “Knowing where these resources are located and how much exists is crucial to ensuring our nation’s energy independence.” 
Image shows a map of the Eastern United States with the boundaries of the Marcellus Shale superimposed 
The assessment unit map for the Marcellus Shale within the Appalachian Basin. Although it occupies similar areas as the Point Pleasant-Utica Shale, the Marcellus is much younger, having formed in the Devonian age.  (Public domain.) 
The Marcellus, Point Pleasant and Utica are extensive formations that cover parts of Kentucky, Maryland, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia. 
This is a significant increase from the previous USGS assessments of both formations. In 2011, the USGS estimated a mean of 84 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in the Marcellus Shale, and in 2012 the USGS estimated about 38 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in the Utica Shale. 
Significant amounts of natural gas have been produced from the Marcellus and Utica Shales since the previous USGS assessments. USGS assessments are for remaining resources and exclude known and produced oil and gas.
Click here to read the whole announcement.

Lordstown Energy Center Honored as POWER Magazine Top Plant

From POWER Magazine:
The cost of fuel is one of the most important factors affecting power plant profitability, but flexibility and efficiency are also vitally important to success. One impressive new plant in Ohio—the Lordstown Energy Center—is positioned to profit from inexpensive gas while utilizing proven technology to economically produce reliable power. The project is a notable POWER Top Plant award winner. 
The power industry has changed dramatically over the past decade. One of the driving forces behind the transformation has been the growth of shale gas production. Shale gas is natural gas—primarily methane—found in shale formations, some of which were formed during the Devonian and Ordovician periods of Earth’s history. 
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the shales were deposited as fine silt and clay particles at the bottom of relatively enclosed bodies of water more than 300 million years ago. At roughly the same time, primitive plants were forming forests on land and the first amphibians were beginning to appear. Some of the methane that formed from the organic matter buried with the sediments escaped into sandy rock layers adjacent to the shales, forming conventional accumulations of natural gas, which are relatively easy to extract. But some of it remained locked in the tight, low-permeability shale layers, becoming shale gas.
Read more by clicking here. 

Ohio Judge Says Chesapeake Acted Legally with Scheme to Lower Royalty Payments

From Law360:
Chesapeake Exploration LLC properly calculated and paid oil and gas royalties to landowners, an Ohio federal judge ruled Monday, granting summary judgment in favor of the oil company in a certified class action that’s dragged on for nearly four years. 
Dale H. Henceroth, Marilyn S. Wendt and eight other landowners filed suit in 2015, alleging the Chesapeake Energy Corp. unit had breached its contracts with them by underpaying them on royalties. Specifically, the landowners said Chesapeake should be paying them royalties based on a higher price associated with the later-enhanced and more expensive gas further down the line. 
But U.S. District Judge Benita Y. Pearson on Monday found that Chesapeake was paying landowners “exactly what the parties negotiated for” in their leases. She granted the company’s motion for summary judgment and denied a competing motion for summary judgment from the plaintiffs. 
“The lease language is plain and unambiguous and the evidentiary record is clear: Chesapeake paid plaintiffs 1/8th of the proceeds it received from the sale of the oil and gas produced and marketed from the leaseholds,” Pearson said.
The landowners' suit is based on the fact that Chesapeake sold the gas to itself (through an affiliate company) at a deflated price, which is the price they paid out royalties on, and then resold the gas at higher prices.  But the leases that Chesapeake drew up were no doubt carefully prepared to allow them to do this, meaning the landowners are unlikely to win the legal battle (although the ruling has been appealed).  Just a note to any landowner out there who is considering signing a lease of any kind: get an attorney to help protect you from predatory practices like this.

Read the rest of the Law360 article by clicking here.

Utica Sees No New Permits for Second Consecutive Week

WEEK ENDING 09/28/19

New permits issued last week: 0 (Previous week: 0)  +-0
Total horizontal permits issued: 3162 (Previous week: 3162 +-0
Total horizontal wells drilled: 2699 (Previous week: 2698)  +1
Total horizontal wells producing: 2320 (Previous week: 2317)  +3
Utica rig count: 14 (Previous week: 14)  +-0

Consumer Group Finds Ohio’s Emissions Have Declined Faster Than the National Average

Despite its high energy demands and a surge in energy production, Ohio’s statewide emissions have fallen by as much as 94 percent since 1990

COLUMBUS, Ohio--()--Consumer Energy Alliance (CEA) today released an Ohio emissions brief that looks at key pollutants and the overall environmental improvements seen across the state. The brief offers further support for one of the great untold stories in Ohio and across the country, the United States is leading the world in environmental stewardship and emission reduction.

The brief comes as youth across the country marched in support of a healthier environment, and to seek answers from community leaders, policymakers and adults about what is being done to improve our environment while also meeting today’s growing demand for energy. This brief shows everyone that many of their questions have already been answered by ongoing innovation and technology in the U.S.
CEA’s brief found that even as Ohio increases its energy production and remains one of the nation’s largest energy consumers, emissions of key air pollutants and greenhouse gases have declined significantly across the state.
From 1990 to 2017, Ohio’s emissions of key pollutants have decreased across the board, with:
  • 72 percent reduction in nitrogen oxides (NOx),
  • 94 percent reduction in sulfur dioxide (SO2), and;
  • 66 percent reduction in volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
Additionally, from 1990 to 2016, Ohio’s carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions declined by 16 percent.
Moreover, while Ohio’s emissions of key pollutants and carbon dioxide were decreasing, the state saw a marked increase in energy production, boosting job creation and economic growth. Ohio production of natural gas increased more than 1,900 percent over the past decade.
“As Ohioans continue to voice their support for creating a healthier environment, and ensuring access to affordable and reliable energy, we are happy that data from the EPA and the WHO demonstrates that Ohioans can simultaneously have a cleaner environment and energy production,” said Chris Ventura, CEA’s Executive Director in Ohio. “This is due in part to the commonsense regulatory policies enacted by our elected officials and the voluntary actions that have been taken by companies across Ohio to the benefit of our communities. We should all be proud that Ohio is one of the leading states in the nation in realizing greater emissions reductions. Now, let’s keep this amazing progress going!”
This brief follows CEA’s Energy Savings Report for Ohio consumers, which found that families, small business and manufacturers across the state saved over $40 billion on their natural gas utility bills over the past decade. This is due to the prolific American Energy Revolution occurring in Southeast Ohio, and similar states across the country.
To view the brief, click here.
About Consumer Energy Alliance
Consumer Energy Alliance (CEA) is the leading consumer advocate for energy, bringing together families, farmers, small businesses, distributors, producers, and manufacturers to support America's environmentally sustainable energy future. With more than 550,000 members nationwide, our mission is to help ensure stable prices and energy security for households and businesses across the country. CEA works daily to encourage people across the nation to seek sensible, realistic, and environmentally responsible solutions to meet our energy needs. Learn more at

Friday, September 27, 2019

Ninth Attempt at Anti-Fracking Charter Amendment in Youngstown Dies Before Reaching the Ballot

From the Youngstown Vindicator:
Supporters of an anti-fracking charter amendment, rejected eight times by Youngstown voters since 2013, didn’t submit documentation to put it on the ballot this year and may not do so next year.

Organizers say they’re regrouping after failing to convince city voters that the issue is for their benefit. 
But the future remains murky at best. 
“I really don’t know if we’ll be back in 2020, but we’re definitely not giving up,” said Susie Beiersdorfer, a member of the committee that has supported the ballot issue and has used different names over the years. “We’re active in different ways. There’s a real change in the air with more people waking up and more activists visiting their legislators. We’re working on exposing the injustice and showing how important local control is.” 
While language of the proposal has changed over the years, the charter amendment would have banned fracking in Youngstown and anything related to the extraction of fossil fuels in the city, as well as guarantee people’s right to clean water and air. 
“We are so freakin’ tired,” said Lynn Anderson, another anti-fracking committee member. “We have begged people to help us. It’s horrifying to know all this is happening. I’ve spent so much time going door-to-door getting signatures and doing it with so few people. I haven’t given up, but where are the people standing with me? We have a small group, and we’re not getting help from others. We need people to stand up and get the facts. We want people to join us.”
Click here to continue reading. 

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Belmont County Cracker Plant Moves One Step Closer to Reality

From Columbus Business First:
A legal challenge holding up a proposed $5 billion ethane cracker plant in Belmont County has been cleared. 
Thailand-based developer PTT Global Chemical America has reached a settlement agreement with three environmental groups that will bring more pollution-detecting safeguards at the plant, ending a ten-month legal challenge before the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency. 
The safeguards include enhanced leak protection, additional stack testing and publication of more data on a public website.

“We respect Sierra Club, Earthworks and FreshWater Accountability Project for working with us on this agreement,” Toasaporn Boonyapipat, president and CEO for PTTGCA, said in a statement. “The resolution of these issues is a tribute to their commitment to environmental protection. We also thank the people of the Ohio Valley community for their enthusiasm and support as we continue to work toward a final investment decision.” 
PTTGCA says a final investment decision still hasn't been made. It's working with South Korea-based Daelim Industrial Co. on the proposed 1.5 million tons-per-year plant that promises thousands of construction jobs and hundreds of full-time workers. It would be the second-largest such facility in the United States.
Read more of the article by clicking right here. 

Democratic Hopefuls Lay Out Radically Different Approaches on Climate and Natural Gas

At an MSNBC forum Thursday intended to allow Democratic presidential candidates to spell out their plans to deal with climate, Senator Bernie Sanders avoided talking about solutions and instead doubled down on past calls to criminally prosecute executives at oil and gas companies. Meanwhile, Senator Michael Bennet and Representative Tim Ryan both took a more rational path, emphasizing how natural gas will play an important role in a low carbon future.

To justify his bombastic claims, Sanders laid out the same tired activist talking points that have been debunked time and time again:

“Now, I wish I could tell you I had a 16-point plan that would do this, but at the end of the day you have executives in the fossil fuel industry, in the oil companies, coal companies, gas companies – Their scientists know exactly what they’re doing. In fact, as you know, there’s strong evidence that ExxonMobil, their scientists were telling them – what for decades – that the product that they are producing is destroying the planet. So how do you deal with executives who are in companies making billions of dollars a year in profit, and the product that they are producing – oh, happens to be destroying the planet? You got that? You got to deal with that.” (emphasis added)

MSNBC moderator Chris Hayes followed up with a question about how Sanders’ approach would differ from the current ongoing climate litigation against energy producers – cases that so far has been dismissed in federal court for San Francisco and Oakland and New York City. In both cases, judges ruled that climate change is an issue best left to Congress and the Executive branch – not the courts.

Brushing aside any potential legal obstacles and that fact that he has no legal background, Sanders instead emphasized his own thinking on the issue:

“I’m not a lawyer, and I’ll need a good attorney general to help me out on this one, but this is what I think. It is one thing, you’re producing a product, and you produce the product and then you learn that the product that you’re producing is killing people, right? …But what do you do if executives knew that the product they were producing was destroying the planet and they continue to do it? Do you think that that might be subject to criminal charges?” (emphasis added)

Bennet, Ryan Make the Case for Natural Gas as Transition Fuel

Earlier in the forum, Senator Michael Bennet struck a tone more conciliatory tone and made the case for natural gas as bridge fuel to renewable energy. Natural gas has played a significant role in allowing the United States to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, as U.S. GHG emissions dropped by 14 percent from 1990 to 2017 while natural gas production increased by 51 percent over the same time period.

When asked to elaborate on natural gas as a bridge fuel, Bennet responded:

“If you’re going to take the position that the answer to our climate issues is banning all fracking now, you have to contend with the lack of coal displacement that would have resulted.”

Indeed, the transition to natural gas has done more to mitigate CO2 emissions from electric generation than renewable resources. Since 2005, natural gas has prevented over two billion metric tons of CO2, accounting for about 63 percent of the total savings.

Congressman Tim Ryan of Ohio expressed a similar viewpoint as Sen. Bennet, noting the important role natural gas has to play in combating climate change – as well as mentioning the irrationality of banning fossil fuels. As Rep. Ryan stated:

“We aren’t going to be able to power the country in two years on renewable. So, there’s got to be some way for us to go from natural gas. And natural gas has displaced coal and that has been a net benefit for the environment.”

Ryan also spoke about the role of natural gas in providing job growth and economic benefits, stating:

“There are a lot of jobs tied to [natural gas] …on my way to the Pittsburgh airport, there is a $5 billion natural gas cracker plant…there’s 6-7,000 union construction jobs building that. Every union all in the region is empty and these guys make between $80,000 – $120,000 a year. Five years ago, everyone was saying how great natural gas was. There is another one going to be built in Ohio.”

Climate benefits and economic benefits, all provided by natural gas.

Instead of pushing for long-shot lawsuits that will do nothing to address climate change, Sanders should take a note from the others and face facts: the oil and gas industry is a significant part of the solution, not the enemy on climate.

Latest Wayne National Forest Lease Sales Yield Over $1.3 Million

From The Cleveland American:
Nearly $1.326 million was generated by oil and gas lease sales in Ohio by the Bureau of Land Management this month. 
The money was generated when the BLM successfully sold 14 parcels of land in the state that totaled nearly 655 acres, according to Francis Piccoli, the deputy state director for external affairs at the Eastern States State Office of the BLM. 
Piccoli told The Center Square in an email that all money collected in the sales is deposited in the BLM-Eastern States Office of Natural Resources Revenue, which distributes shares to the states in which parcels are sold. The money collected is everything minus the cost of recovery fees, which is $165 per lease.

Leases are awarded in 10-year terms, and the successful bidders maintain the lease as long as there is oil and gas production in paying quantities. The federal government collects a 12.5 percent royalty on the value of the production, and the state governments receive at least a 25 percent share of the bonus bid and royalty revenue for every lease, according to a news release by the BLM. 
Another 15 parcels of land were awarded for leases in the Eastern States Office’s sale. 13 of these parcels were in Mississippi, one was in Alabama and the other in Louisiana. The highest bid was $301,080 in Wayne National Forest, Monroe County, Ohio, which is $2,509 per acre in the 119.565-acre parcel. The bid was made by BOP Acquisition, LLC.
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What Will Be the Fallout From Strikes on Saudi Arabia's Oil Infrastructure?

From Forbes:
Here are a dozen things everyone should know about the past weekend’s strikes on a major Saudi oil refinery, and the likely fallout from them: 
  • The Houthis, a rebel army fighting against Saudi-led interests in Yemen, claimed credit for launching the attacks on Saturday. However, the U.S. government now says it believes the assault was launched from Iran, and that it may have involved cruise missiles rather than drones.
  • The strikes centered on Saudi Arabia’s Abqaiq facility. Abqaiq is the world’s largest crude processing facility, processing about two-thirds of the total Saudi supply each day. Saudi Arabia is the world’s second-largest producer of crude oil behind the United States.
  • Several large Saudi oil fields were also attacked. Those attacks, along with the disruption of the Abqaiq facility required the Saudi government to shut-in about half of its current production, or about 5.7 million barrels of oil per day.
  • According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), that amounts to the single biggest sudden disruption on record, more than the loss of Kuwaiti and Iraqi supply during the Gulf War in August 1990, and the 1979 decrease in Iranian output following the Islamic Revolution.
  • Crude prices spiked 10% in early Monday trading, and could rise further if the supply disruption lingers beyond a few days.
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New Guidelines Put in Place for Landmen in Ohio

From Vorys Energy & Environmental Law Blog:
The Division of Real Estate & Professional Licensing issued new guidance for Ohio’s Oil and Gas Land Professionals (“Land Professionals”). First, the Division updated its Land Professional Disclosure Form. Ohio law requires Land Professionals to provide this disclosure form to landowners prior to or at its first meeting with landowners. Second, the Division is requesting that all Land Professionals complete the disclosure form in its entirety. Specifically, Land Professionals should include the address and tax parcel number of the subject property. The Division noted that landowners may own multiple properties; hence, the need to identify the subject property. Additionally, the Division recommends that Land Professionals remind landowners to return the disclosure form to the Land Professional and not the Division.
Click here to see this post and a link to the new form. 

Oil and Gas Employment Numbers On the Decline Again

From Reuters:
U.S. oil and gas employment has started to fall as producers and service companies respond to the sharp decline in prices since the fourth quarter of 2018. 
The number of jobs in “mining support activities”, a category that includes oil and gas drilling, as well as site preparation and well completion services, has been drifting gently lower since October 2018. 
In August, employment was 2% lower than in the same month a year earlier, and down by 4% from its recent peak, according to preliminary estimates published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics on Friday. 
Employment in the sub-category for “oil and gas support activities”, mostly covering site work and completion services, had fallen by around 11,000 jobs or 4% between October and July. 
Oil and gas employment is trending lower as the industry adjusts to lower petroleum and natural gas prices and lower levels of activity (
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Rig Count Unchanging in Utica Shale as Permitting Drops Back to Dead Stop

WEEK ENDING 09/14/19

New permits issued last week: 14 (Previous week: 6)  +8
Total horizontal permits issued: 3162 (Previous week: 3157 +5
Total horizontal wells drilled: 2694 (Previous week: 2690)  +4
Total horizontal wells producing: 2317 (Previous week: 2317)  +-0
Utica rig count: 14 (Previous week: 14)  +-0

WEEK ENDING 09/21/19

New permits issued last week: 0 (Previous week: 14)  -14
Total horizontal permits issued: 3162 (Previous week: 3162 +-0
Total horizontal wells drilled: 2698 (Previous week: 2694)  +4
Total horizontal wells producing: 2317 (Previous week: 2317)  +-0
Utica rig count: 14 (Previous week: 14)  +-0